When people work long days, the last thing they want to do when they get home is haul out the lawn mower and mow the grass. An apartment owner or manager spends many hours in the day dealing with tenants, repairs and maintenance and may not have the time to mow and prune around the property. That’s where you come in. Your lawn care business provides a valuable service, especially to those other businesses that do not have the time to tend to the landscaping.
While you and the property owners know how important you are to keeping their property looking neat and well-manicured, your services may not be high on the list of bills. This is unfortunate. If a property owner must decide between paying for electricity, insurance or lawn care, you can be sure your invoice will go to the bottom of the pile. So how do you deal with other businesses that refuse to pay you for your services?
Preventing and addressing late payment
You have your own bills to pay, including the gas you put into your machines and the employees who provide the labor. You may have loans from purchasing vehicles, insurance and the cost of maintaining your equipment. When a customer avoids your efforts to collect the money you have earned, it can be very frustrating. Here are some suggestions for getting payment from a customer:
- Create a policy and inform your customer from the beginning when payment is due and the steps you will take for nonpayment.
- Develop a relationship with the customer by making contact at every stage of the job, including when the customer accepts your estimate, when the work is complete or if a client posts a review about your business.
- Consider setting up an automated process for contacting your customer for payment after you complete the work.
- If a customer misses the deadline, do not continue servicing the property.
- Send a notice reminding the customer of the outstanding balance and any late fees you have added.
- If you still do not receive payment, contact the customer to see if there was a problem with your services since clients may withhold payment if they are not satisfied.
It is possible that the customer will tell you a sad story about how difficult finances are at this time. It is up to you to decide whether it is worth it to pursue the matter. However, remember that you have a lawn care business to run. In fact, if you are dealing with delinquent customers, you may wish to speak with an attorney for suggestions and options for obtaining the money you have rightfully earned.